Get Closer to van Eyck

You’ve probably heard of Jan van Eyck, famed artist of the Northern Renaissance in the Low Countries. Even if you haven’t heard of him, you’ve probably seen reproductions of his work, which includes such pieces as the Ghent Altarpiece and The Arnolfini Portrait (you know, the one where the guy looks like Vladimir Putin).

Jan van Eyck’s “Arnolfini Portrait,” 1434. Even here, van Eyck’s attention to detail is exquisite. c/o


L: “Arnolfini Portrait” guy. R: Vladimir Putin. c/o

But you’ve never seen his work like this.

The Closer to van Eyck website, originally part of a conservation campaign and effort, looks in detail at van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece. And when I say in detail, I mean in detail. Using different kinds of macrophotography, you can see just how attentive to detail van Eyck was, down to the tiniest wrinkle, leaf, or lace ruffle.


van Eyck’s “Ghent Altarpiece,” 1432. Closer to Van Eyck’s website lets you look at even the tiniest detail of the painting. c/o

Van Eyck, who is featured in the Art Docent Program’s curriculum (6th Grade’s “Northern Europe: 15-17th Century”), worked primarily in oil paints. Since oil paint doesn’t dry too quickly, the artist is able to work with the paint for longer, creating highly realistic details. Incredible attention to detail was one of the most-valued traits of Dutch Renaissance art, and van Eyck was truly a master of the trade, as evidenced by not only what one can see with the naked eye but the extreme detail Closer to van Eyck provides.


So what are you waiting for? Head over to Closer to Van Eyck and get started! Trust me, seeing each specific jewel in God’s crown and each leaf in the Adoration of the Lamb scene is worth it.

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